Are all Trump supporters violent white supremacists? Clearly not. But you might not know that based on some of the reporting flying around this week.
The mainstream media are oversimplifying what happened this past weekend when riots broke out in Berkeley, California, during a rally for free speech put on by Trump backers. In doing so, the reporting implies that those supporting the president were prepared for violence while those in opposition are simply opposing “fascism.”
Twenty-one people were arrested Sunday after fistfights broke out near Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, where a rally for free speech put on by a pro-Trump group Liberty Revival Alliance was scheduled. Rocks were thrown, and sticks and skateboards were used to beat people. Of course, the MSM reporting is slanted.
The Los Angeles Times report on the fighting, for example, takes pains to show how a member of a “citizen militia group” originating from Montana who came to the rally to protect Trump supporters might’ve been looking for a fight. “I don’t mind hitting” the counter-demonstrators, one man tells the Times. “In fact, I would kind of enjoy it.”
The paper also interviewed a woman on the Left fed up with the violence, a vendor selling organic produce, and a guy handing out “empathy kisses.” The message, clearly, is that those on the “Right” were looking for trouble and those on the Left responded.
What the Times and other outlets don’t tell you is this was not simply a clash of “Trump supporters and counter-protesters.”
Just who are the groups involved?
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As some in the mainstream media tell it, on the one hand you have racist white nationalists in support of Trump. This is true. Alt-Right activists such as Nathan Damigo — who founded the white supremacist organization “Identity Europa” — can be seen delivering a vicious right-hook to a woman (who, in turn, was assaulting him). But by no means was every Trump backer at this rally for “free speech” a violent neo-Nazi.
On the other hand, as SFGate reported, several “liberal groups” were there to counter protest in opposition to Trump. But these were not just milquetoast liberals there to oppose a president they don’t like. Specifically, as the Los Angeles Times notes in a different piece, officials raised concerns about the militant “black bloc” of anti-fascist (Antifa for short) rioters. But don’t take the term “anti-fascist” on its face, as the mainstream media is wont to do. Understand who these people actually are.
They’ve shown up previously at Berkeley to shut down a “free speech” event hosted by provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, leaving damaged property, fires, and assault victims in their wake. They also violently disrupted a “March 4 Trump” event in March. But you aren’t hearing as much about Antifa violence as you are about the Alt-Right.
In fact, some outlets are offering outright praise for Antifa.
Ask Esquire magazine and Antifa rioters are noble, anti-racist counter demonstrators — a sort of Justice League vigilante group dedicated to shutting down fascist protests.
But this is a radical movement that traces its roots back to World War II, as Mother Jones recounts in “The long history of ‘Nazi punching.’” They employ so-called “righteous violence” against what they consider to be the forces of fascism. What “fascism” is nowadays seems to be a subjective definition belonging to whichever particular Antifa thugs show up en force.
Here in the contemporary U.S., waves of Antifa-driven riots are on the rise in in an effort to silence President Trump and his supporters by any means necessary. Antifa thugs show up at left-wing demonstrations to breed chaos, destruction, and bloodshed. They blend in with and are sometimes aided by the crowd, as National Review’s David French explained in the aftermath of Yiannopoulos’ Berkeley event in February:
What you’ll notice (and what you’ll experience, if you ever find yourself in the middle of violent left-wing protest) is that the rioters and the “peaceful” protesters have a symbiotic relationship. The rioters break people and destroy things, then melt back into a crowd that often quickly and purposefully closes behind them. They’re typically cheered wildly (to be sure, some yell at them to stop) and often treated as heroes by the rest of the mob — almost like they’re the SEAL Team Six of left-wing protest.
The “Battle of Berkeley,” as some are calling it, was a dangerous, violent, bloody mess. Instigators, Antifa and Alt-Right, should be roundly condemned.
But at the moment, the American people are only getting one side of the story from the mainstream media. The majority of the MSM’s intense focus is applied to white nationalist groups, while Antifa is being cast in a heroic role opposed to the Alt-Right’s violence.
The mainstream media wax poetic on the dangers of the nationalist populist Alt-Right. They ought to be wary of normalizing Antifa’s brand of radical Alt-Left violence.
Editor's note: The title to this piece has been updated to correct a grammatical error.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in Politics and Economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are Conservative Political Philosophy, the American Founding, and Progressive Rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.